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Routes : Europe : Germany : Berlin


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About Berlin:

Nobody of reason would come to Berlin for climbing. Puhlease. Nonetheless – after rushing through centuries of history and art, visiting the leftovers of two world wars and a cold war, taking a relaxing boat tour on the Spree River and having gallons of the famous German beer – there might be something in for the climbing geek. Though Berlin is flat as a pancake and the highest elevation is a pile of demolition rubble (Teufelsberg, 114.7m/376ft, heaped up after WWII), there’s an astonishing mass of climbing and bouldering in and around the city - mostly concrete but in an unbelievable variety of structures and forms.

Overview Berlin (Wikipedia) with 3.5 Million inhabitants is the biggest city of Germany. Besides the enormous historical and political importance, Germany’s capital is also the cultural and artistic centre of the country. This is the birthplace of fashion trends and music styles, host of international fairs and cultural events, meeting point of be and wannabe stars, the mother of nightlife and the sister of fornication. Take your time to explore the city – especially the colourful and extended nightlife. There’s more than a lifetime of partying for every imaginable and a lot of beyond-imaginable tastes.

Transportation Berlin’s public transport could be the world’s best, at least it’s top ten. A complex system of trains, underground lines, cable cars and busses keeps the city alive day and night. If not for moving a closet you won’t need a car. So drink and drive – BVG that is. If all goes wrong take a cab - ‘Kurzstrecke’ (a ride sub 2km/1.2miles) is at 3.50€, everything further is luxury anyway.
Berlin has three airports: Tegel (TXL) in the northeast, Tempelhof (THF) in the southern city centre and Schönefeld (SXF) in the far southeast. For a hand full of Euros cheap airlines will get you from here to anywhere in Europe.

Local Specialties Berlin's by far most digested specialties are Currywurst (a sausage with a more or less spicy tomato sauce, has nothing to do with a real Curry) and the famous Döner Kebab. The later comes across like a Turkish traditional but was invented in Berlin (then again most probably by one of the 150.000 Turkish inhabitants) and widely substitutes any other fast food. It consists of spiced meat, grilled on a spit, a salad mix and sauce (hot, garlic or herbs, the author's favorite being hot and herbs at once) in a huge piece of pita bread. A quality Döner (look for crowded places and you can't be too wrong) is cheap, sating, tasty, healthy and almost impossible to eat without messing up your t-shirt. In one word: the superior Burger EuRoyal.
The Currywurst lately rose above the proletarian mediocrity and is sometimes served with Champagne. 'WTF?' is an appropriate reaction. Anyway, in one of those darker moments it may taste pretty good.

Climbing For the urban climbing addict there are different indoor and outdoor options to strain the tendons. Berlin has two huge gyms and a couple of smaller boulder rooms. In addition there are numerous concrete climbing towers (Klettertürme) of various heights (up to 17m/55ft) and the famous Bunker. A couple of outdoor bouldering spots and a good load of buildering makes it for a complete artificial climbing region.

What’s on the Web A couple of useful links about the area:

  • The official website of Berlin. Contains tons of tourist information, accommodation links etc. and a link to an interactive city map (Stadtplan). Most parts are available in English.
  • Exberliner Cityguide A guide by the English Language Paper for Berlin. Useful tips, tons of links and everything in English.
  • Wikitravel for Berlin A short but useful overview for travellers. (English)
  • Alpin-Club One of the two bigger sections of the German Alpine Club in Berlin. (German only)
  • DAV Section Berlin The other one. (German only)
  • Climbing Area Berlin A little bit of information about the different climbing sections and an almost dead forum. If you can find the video section, there’re some gems though. (German only)